Wednesday, December 16, 2009

CHRISTMAS LIGHTS

Growing up in 1960s Scotland before it went smoke free had certain advantages. It meant that children could send their want-lists to Santa Claus simply by writing them on a piece of paper and sending them up the lum! House-chimney fires used to be a common feature in Scotland especially on Christmas Eve! But it stood to reason, if Santa came down the chimney to deliver his presents, then he could read the children’s requests on the messages sent up the chimney (in flames!) But who isn’t touched to hear of a little child, instead of asking for toys, asking Santa to return their daddy or granny, or some other loved one, who has died. The tragedy is that the child is confusing Santa with the true and living God. Only God is able to bring the dead back to life. And that is why He sent His only begotten Son into the world. That is why Jesus Christ was born in the first place.
As a child I used to join the other children and line the streets for the switching on of the Christmas lights in our hometown. The atmosphere was electric! There’d be a parade. The man in the red suit would be there, laughing all the way! As a child Christmas was a time of hope – hope of receiving gifts! But nowadays Christmas is going up the chimney! But, is it all bad?

I must admit as a non-Christian child growing up in Scotland I knew more about Father Christmas than God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth. The Santa we were taught about was omnipresent and omniscient, for in the song ‘Santa Claus is Coming to Town’ we sang, ‘He sees when you are sleeping/He knows when you're awake/He knows if you've been bad or good/So be good for goodness sake!’ But isn’t God the only all-seeing and all-knowing One? Is it any wonder that people grow up confused about God, equating belief in Him with belief in Santa, only to reject both?

The ‘Politically Correct’ movement is intolerant of Christ and Christians, otherwise they wouldn’t be seeking to have Christ removed from Christmas! But, should Christians seek to have Christ remain in Christmas? Some Christians see no Biblical warrant for celebrating Christmas and are happy to hand the whole thing over to Santa Claus as a gift! But regardless of what you think should be done about Christmas, it cannot be denied that ‘God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.’ John 3:16-18.

The birth of Jesus, then, was about God the Father giving the gift of His Son to save the world from condemnation. Jesus is the Saviour. Therefore to believe in Him is to trust Him to save you from God’s condemnation on Judgment Day. Therefore Jesus Christ is the Good News of God to fallen mankind. But, as there is today, so there was a time in the past when people were intolerant of Christ and Christians. The baby Jesus grew up and was nailed to a tree. He received the condemnation of men for claiming to be the Son of God! Christians were persecuted for believing the same thing. But God gives good gifts, for, ‘Every good gift and perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.’ James 1:17. Therefore, when God gives a gift that gift stays given! Thus God raised the murdered Jesus Christ back to life. And we discover that His death was to pay the penalty owed for our shunning and removing every last vestige of God and Christ from our lives – as, eg, the PCs are trying to do to Christmas!

Dear reader, whatever you think of Christmas please at least acknowledge that God alone is Almighty, all-knowing, and all-present. He sees you when you’re sleeping or awake and knows you’ve been bad. His Son really was born in Bethlehem, really died at Jerusalem, and really was physically raised back to life. And He is able to raise you back to life. Therefore Jesus Christ really is the Saviour of the world. Ask God for His gift of salvation. Do not be unbelieving but believe in the Lord Jesus Christ to receive the good and the perfect gift from the Father of lights. May God be pleased to switch on your ‘Christmas lights’ today!

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